A while ago when we interviewed Portsmouth based singer songwriter Loz Bridge he made some insightful and intelligent comments about the value of music criticism, in particular that he felt the point of it was to entertain rather than to educate. From his point of view, as an artist, all he wanted from a blog was a good quote he could use to help market his band. From an artists perspective that probably is one of the major values, but what about on a wider scale? Is there a value in a music blog ?
Somebody once said that if you gave a million monkeys typewriters and set them to work, they’d eventually come up with the complete works of Shakespeare. Thanks to the internet, we now know this isn’t true. Such is the danger and beauty of blogging. Uncensored publication has big advantages and disadvantages, particularly in relation to music criticism. Anyone can be a music critic these days, just create a blog account and away you go. We’ve managed it - it’s a lot easier to do than writing a paper based fanzine as we used to back in the olden days.
The advantages of a blog over established popular media are clear to see. There’s no editor, no PR company to suck up to and therefore no compromise. This potentially gives music blogs higher levels of credibility than standard industry publications. Music bloggers may not have the literary or journalistic skills of the established press, but you don’t need great skills to be able to explain how a song, album or performance makes you feel, and that’s important.
In the past music criticism was carried out by the elite few, reviewing albums before the public got to hear them or reviewing performances that only a selected audience could experience. But in this fast accessible world of illegal downloading, self shot You Tube concert footage, band Myspace pages and the like almost everything is available fast and easy.
This is where the critic and particularly the blogger come in. Blogs / critics can help sift through the masses out there. They can guide those who don’t have huge quantities of time to investigate everything that is available – pointing people in the direction of things that they may like. So critical blogs can do more than just entertain, they can help educate as well. Blogs have the upper hand here over the established press, as blogs can respond quickly. With no editorial bureaucracy and schedule dates a blogger can discover a band or a song they like and publish immediately.
Of course the problem is with so many bands and so much access there are now so many blogs. It becomes difficult to know what to trust. So find a collection of blogs you like or identify with that share similar tastes and opinions to your own and stick with them. Follow, subscribe or get their feeds and save yourself some time in sorting out the wheat from the chaff. Hopefully Breaking More Waves may even be one of those blogs you come back to !
Footnote: You may also want to read our other article on 'Opinions and blogs' which gives a number of other reasons why we think blogs are important here